Top 10 Things to Do in Washington Parish

Experience the beauty, charm and wilderness of Washington Parish, Louisiana, including Franklinton, Bogalusa and Bogue Chitto State Park.

Go tubing in Bogue Chitto State Park

Go tubing in Bogue Chitto State Park near Franklinton Louisiana

Bogue Chitto State Park has dynamic river systems.

Take in the beauty of the rolling hills and dynamic waterways of Bogue Chitto State Park.

Walter "Wolfman" Washington is a famous blues and R&B Louisiana musician

See famous Louisiana blues artists like Walter "Wolfman" Washington at the Bogalusa Blues Fest.

Mile Branch Settlement in Franklinton Louisiana

Travel back to the days of yesteryear at the Mile Branch Settlement in Franklinton.

Pick blueberries at Louisiana farms near Franklinton

Pick fresh blueberries at these pick-your-own farms near Franklinton.

A trip to Washington Parish, Louisiana, will lead you into one of the most scenic and rural parishes in the state. Located north of New Orleans in Louisiana's Northshore Area, wilderness abounds with rolling hills, piney woods, farms, small towns and complex waterways. 

Must-Experience Activities Near Franklinton and Bogalusa in Washington Parish

Discover the area by fishing, hunting, canoeing, tubing, visiting the towns and driving the byways. Experience delicious Louisiana food, festivals, local heritage and the nation’s largest free fair.

Here are just a few suggestions of activities to seek out in Washington Parish:

1. Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival

The city that gave us legendary pianist Professor Longhair is where you’ll also find one of the region’s premier music festivals. Every September, the Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival features some of the best in contemporary and classic blues. You’ll also find local cuisine that includes Cajun specialties and soul-food staples. As a bonus to overnight visitors, the fest offers camping accommodations for tents and RVs, so you can enjoy the whole weekend sleeping next to Bogue Lusa Creek.

2. Bogue Chitto State Park

One of the gems of the Louisiana State Parks system, Bogue Chitto State Park is a haven for anglers, families, campers and disc golfers. Fourteen miles of designated horse trails crisscross the park, meaning that visitors on horseback are never far from good views of the park’s namesake river. The topography of rolling hills and cypress forests make Bogue Chitto State Park a truly special place to spend time while visiting Washington Parish.

3. Canoeing and Tubing

Load up the coolers, pack some sunscreen and get ready to chill out — literally. The cool waters of the Bogue Chitto River offer Northshore visitors an awesome opportunity to beat the heat while paddling or floating through some of the wildest terrain in south Louisiana. The Bogue Chitto is well known for tubing, and numerous outfitters offer drop-off and pick-up, along with tubes, kayaks, canoes and life jackets. Two local businesses to check out are Louisiana River Adventures in Franklinton and Bogue Chitto Tubing Center in Bogalusa.

4. Washington Parish Free Fair

Dating back to 1911, the Washington Parish Free Fair is the second-oldest fair in the entire state. Carnival rides, games, a pageant, rodeo and tons of family-friendly attractions await visitors every October. Visitors can also take a step back in time with the Authentic Historical Pioneer Village at the Mile Branch Settlement. Costumed hosts tour the various log buildings from the 1800s. Get a bird's-eye view of the fairgrounds

5. Mile Branch Settlement

Peek into pioneer life as it was lived circa 1850 at the Mile Branch Settlement. This collection of original pioneer cabins (two are listed in the National Historic Register) is located at the Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton, and includes structures from throughout the local region. It’s open three times a year — during the Washington Parish Free Fair, the first weekend in December (for Pioneer Christmas) and during the Antique Tractor Show each May. Mile Branch Settlement is also open for group tours by appointment on Fridays, seasonally.

6. Mardi Gras

Washington Parish knows how to throw proper Mardi Gras celebrations, which you’ll see on display every year when the Krewe of MCCA (Magic City Carnival Association) rolls through the streets of Bogalusa. The Krewe claims to have one of the largest parades of its kind anywhere, with more than 50,000 spectators in attendance.

7. Christmas in Washington Parish

The Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton get into the Christmas spirit the first weekend of every December, with events such as Pioneer Christmas. The historic cabins comprising Mile Branch Settlement are decorated for the season, and to get visitors into the spirit, there are local artisans exhibiting and selling crafts such as holiday ornaments and jewelry on-site. The pioneer spirit makes this a unique Christmas as carolers stage the area and sing on cabin porches, while folks dressed in period costume will be offering demonstrations of local cuisine.

8. White Sands Lake Day Beach

Looking for a beachy getaway? Then head to White Sands Lake Day Beach. Located a few miles south of Franklinton and Bogalusa, this sunny getaway is especially popular among families and groups. Take a dip in the cool, spring-fed waters of White Sands Lake, or take your pick of boat rentals: kayaks, pedal boats and paddleboards are all available. For the kids, there's an aqua park with trampolines and water slides. After drying off, head to one of White Sands Lake Day Beach's cabanas, all of which come equipped with barbecue grills.

9. Antiques and Flea Markets

Treasure hunters will be delighted to find a wealth of antique stores and flea markets to explore while in the Washington Parish area. From vintage furniture to antique china, there are so many diamonds in the rough. Learn more about the area's antique stores.

10. Blueberry Farm Tours

The rich soils of Washington Parish make it well suited for farming, and travelers with a sweet tooth and a love of the outdoors can see how it’s done up-close at a pick-your-own blueberry farm. 3D Blueberry Farm just west of Franklinton is open seasonally to the public. L&E Blueberry Farm in Franklinton is another local “u-pick” farm that welcomes visitors and is a great experience for the family.

Learn more about things to do and places to stay in the Washington Parish and get ready for your getaway!